Opinion,  Review

My Laser Tattoo Removal Experience

After much deliberation over the past few years I decided to take the plunge and begin the long and slow process of lightening some of my tattoos in preparation of future cover-ups. On Friday February 15 I had my first laser appointment at MJ Driver Tattoo Removal & Lightening in Collingwood.

I’m booked in to remove quite a number pieces over the coming months but this particular session was for a tattoo on my wrist measuring approximately 3 x 4 inches and tattoos on each of my feet measuring 5 x 6 inches.

After making the foolish decision of watching some videos of other peoples’ laser tattoo removal experiences, and combined with my recent bout of insomnia, I got next to no sleep the night prior.

By the time I eventually did pass out for about 45 minutes it was time to get up and get ready. So began the 90 minute trek into the city and trying not to get lost on my way to Collingwood, all the while being worried about train delays despite PTV having no planned works for my train line. If you’re someone who is always excruciatingly early to everything and constantly paranoid about being late, then I’m sure you can relate.

All night and all morning it was a mental battle. I convinced myself that the lasering process would be so unbelievably painful so that I was somewhat prepared for the pain to come; although, I was secretly hoping that it wouldn’t be anywhere near as bad as imagined. Having not been tattooed for almost seven years, I can’t quite remember what getting tattooed feels like, so I was unable to draw from that experience to put my mind at ease.

Ultimately I accepted that I had no choice but to suck it up and take the pain if I want to get the results required for a cover-up. One comforting thing is that the procedure takes minutes not hours.

Arriving at MJ Driver’s Collingwood location was like instantly stepping into a calm environment. The staff are friendly, welcoming and explain everything thoroughly, giving you the opportunity to ask questions at any stage during the process.

Credit: MJ Driver

After Elysia asked me about the history of my tattoos, she explained how she was going to treat my tattoos, what to expect during the healing process and how many sessions I may need to achieve sufficient lightening.

Not only do you get to wear some snazzy sunglasses to protect your eyes from the lasers, a number of stress relieving objects are offered to distract you from the pain. I opted for the stress ball, however that first hit of laser was actually a relief for me – it was nowhere near as painful as I had anticipated. 

The sensation of the laser is one which is difficult to describe, and possibly feels different for each individual. The snapping sound of the laser actually reminded me of a sewing machine, and it felt as though hot needles were penetrating my skin. A weird analogy, I know, but the sensation was unlike anything else I have ever experienced.

I would give it a pain rating of 6 but even that quickly diminishes to a 1 or 2 once that cool burst of air hits the skin and the laser has been moved to a different area of the tattoo. Treating my wrist tattoo was far more pleasant than my feet, and that is comparable to how I felt when getting those body parts tattooed.

The length of a laser tattoo removal session versus an actual tattoo (a couple of minutes compared to hours) is another reason why the process is bearable. There’s none of the artist working the same spot several times – once an area has been lasered that’s it for the session.

Immediately following the completion of the treatment on my feet I could feel that they were beginning to swell and my skin get tighter. Elysia applied a cooling gel and a compression bandage which felt nice on the skin and was to counteract any swelling. The same was done to my wrist, although I didn’t experience nearly as much tightness and swelling in that area.

Elysia again went through the aftercare instructions and provided me with some supplies in order to re-bandage my feet for the following days. When leaving a tattoo appointment I recall always feeling tired with the adrenaline beginning to wear off; I left this laser tattoo removal appointment feeling perfectly fine. Having said that, being that weirdo with bandaged feet, waddling around wearing thongs was admittedly a little awkward but it’s the price you have to pay in order to lighten a foot tattoo.

Final thoughts: If you can handle getting tattooed then you can handle laser tattoo removal. 

I’m sure you’re all wanting to see before and after images of my tattoos, but you’ll have to wait a few more weeks. We’ll be documenting the entire healing process, and the lightening results across the six weeks in a future YouTube video. Make sure you’re subscribed to our channel or following us on Instagram or Twitter to be notified when it goes up.

Until then, here’s what convinced me that MJ Driver was the right place to go to for laser tattoo removal.

Credit: MJ Driver

MJ Driver are very reasonably priced – I won’t say how much I paid as it is determined by the individual tattoo, but you do receive a discount if treating multiple tattoos. You can get a personalised free quote by filling in an online form.

MJ Driver Tattoo Removal & Lightening has multiple locations across Australia. You can find all their contact details here and some more FAQ about the laser tattoo removal process here.

Follow MJ Driver on Instagram for more photos and videos documenting their results.